Extra-dry dirty vodka martini up with two olives. Gin martini stirred on the rocks with a twist. There are hundreds of ways to order and drink a martini and most people have a their own very specific preference. We serve a lot of martinis at Mr. P's - it is a great way to start (and finish) a meal. But we also get a lot of questions about martinis and overhear a lot of discussion about them at tables, so we thought we'd share a few of the basics in regards to the "classic" martini.
Part 1: Vodka or Gin?
The original martini goes back to the late nineteenth century when it first appeared in bartending manuals and was made with Gin. Many martini enthusiasts will go as far to say that a martini made with Vodka is not even a martini, but rather a Vodkatini or a Kangaroo Cocktail (not sure of the origin of this name though). But we say, if its good enough for James Bond, its good enough! Whatever your preference, Vodka or Gin is the main ingredient in the martini. Of course, higher-end brands tend to have a smoother finish. At Mr. P's, the most popular Vodka requested in martinis is Ketle One and the most popular gin is Beefeaters.
Part 2: Why Dry?
Dry Vermouth is the second ingredient of the classic martini. Most folks have a preference on the "dryness" of their martini and most bartenders have various ways of measuring. When a martini is ordered "extra dry", it actually means the customer prefers the minimal amount of vermouth. Usually the bartender will put a splash of vermouth in the chilled glass, swirl it around and toss it out before pouring in the Vodka or Gin. A "dry" martini has just a splash of vermouth as well, but it isn't tossed out and finally, if "dryness" isn't specified, a simple one count of vermouth is poured inwith the Vodka or Gin and shaken or stirred.
Part 3: Shaken or Stirred?
A shaken martini involves pouring the Vodka or Gin over ice in a metal or glass shaker and shaking the dickens out of it before pouring it into a chilled glass. This process aerates the drink which fills it with tiny bubbles and gives it a cloudy look. It also breaks the ice into tiny shards which float on the surface. Again, a classic martini enthusiast usually prefers a martini stirred as to not interrupt the "integrity" of the drink, but most of us like it shaken and poured into an ice-cold martini glass!
Part 4: Garnish
Martini's are typically garnished with olives or a lemon twist (just the skin, not the juice). There is o right or wrong, it is simply a preference. If you really love olives, you may like your martini "dirty", which means that some of the olive juice/brine is added to the mix to give it a salty flavor.
Although these are the basics of a "classic" martini, martinis come in so many varieties and flavors now - such as the Cosmo and Appletini. A favorite dessert martini is the Chocolate martini. Mr. P's offers a great selection of specialty martinis for you to try during your next visit - such as the Southport Sidecar or the Shrimptini - mmm-mmm!